Who is that man?

…She became his wife; and he loved her… ~Genesis 24:67

The multiple hats on this pastor’s head argue over who is the greatest among them.

The Teaching Pastor wants to take this narrative about Abraham’s servant and the search for Isaac’s wife and sliced it up into a 3 part sermon:  1) Prepare  2) Pray  3) Wait.  Prepare by gathering as much information as you can; know what your goal is; explore alternative approaches; define unacceptable outcomes and failure so you have permission to pull the plug if it is going off course. Pray for God’s direction and look for clear indications that God is working to avoid the pitfall of succeeding in your own resourcefulness alone.  Unless the Lord builds the house…  Wait:  patience is the hardest part. Expect that God will be faithful and put it all together at just the right time and in the right way.  But, like Abraham’s servant, you must be prepared, prayed up, and watching for the hand of God to move ready to act when God provides the answer!

An inner Spiritual Director questions whether this is “unhelpful” and wants to let the passage speak for itself: push the Patriarchs aside and give room for Rebekah, this amazing woman, to speak out of her own story.  The virtues of strength and generosity are hers.  She is decisive.  She is beautiful. Her name is often translated: captivating but that only tells half the story.  Literally, Rebekah means “tied down”.  The connotation is positive.  Not a yoke of slavery or submission, this “tied down” means the important things are secured.  Cattle have been tended and won’t wander off.  The family’s goods are strapped down and won’t be lost in the sudden storm winds of the desert. Rebekah is a woman with a strong handle on things.  It gets done and done right when Rebekah is around.  Maybe that’s why her mother and her brother tried to keep her around for another week or two following her wedding proposal. Can you say more about that, Rebekah?

The Chaplain hears something else in the passage.  Isaac is comforted after his mother’s death. Sarah has died and Isaac is alone.  Practically an only child, Abraham is a workaholic absentee father. Isaac is, perhaps 40-ish by now, managing one of his father’s field offices.

Abraham and Sons Securities and Livestock, LLC. —Negev Branch

This must be a hard time for you, Isaac. How has the loss of your mother affected your work? Where do you see God in your life at this time?

The Student of Christ in me hesitantly raises a hand to half mast and wonders in a much too humble voice if Isaac’s dedication to meditation demands some attention.  Rebekah, in the original language, falls off her camel when she sees this man praying. Among his attributes of looks and wealth, is a developed prayer life equally attractive?

Then I call the class to attention.  Voices are silenced for a meaningful pause.

I ask this question:

Isn’t it enough to simply enjoy a love story?

Does it really need to be more than that?

God has brought a strong, beautiful woman to a lonely, godly man in a culture where marriages had more to do with clan preservation and consolidation of wealth.

Two distant lives become two hearts melting into one.

And no one noticed:

Right in the middle of the busyness of the business of religion, clan politics, financial transactions and work related stress

God wrote a love story.

…and they lived happily ever after…

 

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